The Port Angeles High School Equestrian Team appears at the state finals in Lynden. From left are Bailee Palmer

KAREN GRIFFITHS’ HORSEPLAY COLUMN: State finals produce area champions

VANDALS, THIEVES AND lowlifes struck at least twice this month at the Mount Muller horse camp in Olympic National Forest.

When Back Country Horsesmen (BCH) member Larry Baysinger stopped by to do some maintenance work, he discovered thieves had stolen all the attachments that make the gravity feed water system work: stock tank, cistern, pump and lines.

Wife Sherry says it’s more than just destroying the watering system that’s set up for stock use; the water is also used for fire suppression.

“These people think they are stealing from the government, but they’re not; they’re stealing from us, the volunteers who built and maintain it. They’re stealing from their neighbors,” says Sherry.

The two live nearby in Beaver.

Larry purchased replacement products himself.

Later, when going back to clean out fire pits (yep, a volunteer cleans those out, too), he discovered the vandals had struck again.

Perhaps those hoodlums don’t realize without the primary backing of BCH members and their own blood, sweat and personal donations, the pristine campground would not exist.

A volunteer also cleans the toilet and stocks it with toilet paper, so it disgusts me when others disrespect and encroach upon properties they don’t own but have the privilege of using.

I think it’s time to set up a few game and trail cameras (often used by hunters, their high-intensity infrared LED emitters detect motion and snap photos in extremely low-light conditions) to catch those misfits in action.

Oftentimes, thieves strike right out in the open, acting as if it’s their equipment they are working on.

They say it’s their car they are breaking into, and if asked, they say they “locked the keys in the car,” or if cutting down a giant spruce say they have a permit when they don’t.

If you suspect someone is a thief don’t try to stop him or her, please at least get the make and model of their vehicle and report it to police or a park ranger.

WAHSET finals

Top five competitors in each event, from all six districts, competed at the Washington State High School Equestrian Team State Finals in Lynden last weekend.

Port Angeles’ high school equestrian team coach, Tina VanAusdle, reports it was “a lot of fun even though the weather was unpredictable. It rained sideways for the first two days but was sunny the last two. Thank goodness for indoor arenas.”

Tina says the water pump in her truck, which was pulling a large horse trailer, broke about 20 miles from Lynden.

She says breaking down and problems such as that are the reason “we all try to travel together when we are hauling horses so no one gets stuck on the side of the road by themselves.”

Thankfully, they were able to “limp” into town and take the truck to a repair shop in Lynden.

Sequim’s coach, Katie Salmon-Newton, says there were about 400 competitors at the finals, and “all the kids did great and had a good time.”


■ Figure eight: Emily VanAusdle, state champion; Anne Meek, sixth.

■ Poles: Emily, state champion.

■ Barrels: Emily, state champion.

■ Steer daubing: Emily, state champion; Anne, third.

■ Breakaway roping: Anne, state champion.

■ Keyhole: Anne, 15th.

■ Reining: Kelly Anders, 15th.

■ Saddle seat: Haylie Newton, 13th; Matisen Anders, 14th.

■ Jumping: Katie Rivers, fourth.

■ Birangle: Emily and Micayla Weider, state champions.

■ Team Canadian flags: Anne, Sydney Balkan, Chelsea Smith, Haylie, fifth.

■ Four-man drill team: Sequim’s Anne, Sydney, Chelsea, Kaytee Gibeau, ninth.

■ Large drill team: PA’s Paige Swordmaker, Ciara Gentry, Cassidy Hodgin, Rachael Breitbach, Ashley Farmer, Bailee Palmer, Emily, Micayla, 12th.

The top five at state qualified to go to the inaugural interstate competition against Oregon — the Battle for the Buckle — in Redmond, Ore., from June 27-29.


■ 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday — “Healthy Pastures & Healthy Horses” workshop. Sequim Animal Hospital’s Dr. Tara Black will speak on horse health topics such as worming, fly and tick management, grazing tips to reduce grass founder and common summertime allergies.

Cathy Lucero, Clallam County noxious weed coordinator, will teach how to identify and control noxious weeds in pastures and which weeds are poisonous to horses.

Participants are encouraged to bring weeds or grass plants to the workshop for assistance with identification. 

The event is free, but pre-registration is required.

Phone the Clallam County Conservation District at 360-775-3747, ext. 1.

■ 10 a.m. Saturday — County Mounty’s Horse 4-H Club open schooling show at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 4907 Landes St., Port Townsend.

Show forms are available at most area feed stores.

Phone Ashley Govia at 360-301-4103.

■ 10 a.m. Saturday — BCH joint chapter ride at Miller Peninsula.

Park and ride out off Pierce Road at Don Tucker’s gravel pit.

Contact Kris Lenke at 360-732-7111 or [email protected]

■ Sunday — Adult horsemanship class at Freedom Farm, 493 Spring Road, Agnew.

Contact Mary Gallagher at [email protected] or 360-457-4897 to attend.

■ 9:30 a.m. May 31 and June 1, 14 and 15 — Patterned Speed Horse Association game show at Quarter Moon Arena, 383 W. Runnion Road, Carlsborg.

Phone Waynora Martin at 360-683-6902.

■ 10 a.m. Sunday, June 1 — Fun and gaming events Play Day hosted by the Jefferson County Silver Spurs 4-H Horse Club at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

The entry fee is $20 for the day for entries postmarked by Tuesday; otherwise, $25.

For more information or entry forms, phone Bethal Moore at 360-301-1547.

■ 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 28, and 9 a.m. Sunday, June 29 — PSHA game show at Crosby’s arena, 122 Franson Road in Agnew.

Phone Pam Crosby at 360-670-3906.

■ Saturday, July 5 — Equine Trail Sports obstacle course and trail ride at Layton Horse Camp, 2514 Chicken Coop Road, Sequim.

Contact Anna Neal at 425-737-7404 or [email protected], or visit for more information.


Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Wednesday.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

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